BROOKWOOD MILITARY CEMETERY and NATIONAL TRUST PROPERTY AT POLESDEN LACEY

Written and photographed by Ken Amery and Judith Riley, 26 April 2019

The Cross of Remembrance in the British area
Canadian war graves with the Cross of Remembrance
Brookwood Cemetery, part of the American War Graves Cemetery
The 'Pointed' memorials are graves of Polish servicemen
Some of the memorials marking the bodies of 1914 - 18 where they were placed immediately after the war
All are equal in death. Graves of German servicemen
Graves of Indian servicemen
 
Private T. A. Knowles, the youngest person in the cemetery.
A drummer boy from South Africa who died from Illness contracted while in the UK. Very sad.
Canadian Cemetery from the 1939 - 45. Memorial to the Missing

POLESDEN LACEY
Entrance to Polesden Lacey
Rear view of Polesden Lacey


BROOKWOOD AND POLESDEN LACEY

Over the years we have visited many military cemeteries, all in Europe. This was our first trip to Brookwood Military cemetery, the largest military cemetery in the UK, administered by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, whose headquarters is, of course in Maidenhead.

Fifty of us made the relatively short journey to the cemetery. Here we were met by our two expert guides, Mike and Andy who are both volunteers at the cemetery. What these two did not know about the cemetery was not worth knowing! The cemetery is on land that was originally part of the larger Brookwood cemetery, which is adjacent. However, the military cemetery is completely separate.

The graves are laid out exactly as they are in the commission’s cemeteries all over Europe, and there are sections devoted to the various Commonwealth countries as well as small areas devoted to European countries as well as some graves for German war dead.  All are equal in death. We passed through the section devoted to Canada and then entered the section dedicated to American war dead. This is administered by the American Battle Monuments Commission and reminded us of our recent visit to the American cemetery at Cambridge. We then passed through the British section and on through the other parts devoted to the dead of other countries. For, many, if not all of us this was a very sobering experience. My own poignant moment was the grave of a fifteen year old from South Africa. He was a drummer boy and when he arrived here, in October 1918 he contracted pleurisy and died. Our two hour visit seemed to fly by.

Our next stop was the National Trust property at Polesden Lacey. Its’ best known owner was probably Margaret Greville, who remodelled the house and was famous for her house parties to which the ‘great and the good’, including royalty were invited. The future King George VI and Queen Elizabeth spent part of their honeymoon here in 1923. Many of us took the opportunity to have lunch in the excellent restaurant there before exploring the house. It took a bit of time to get used to the low light in the house (presumably to safeguard the fabrics.) The rooms that were open were very interesting and, as usual the National Trust room guides were very friendly and helpful. NT properties are now much more ‘touchy feely’ and it was an experience sitting on some of the chairs just wondering what famous bottoms might have sat there. As we examined an Edwardian ladies underwear (on a mannequin, I hasten to add!!) one of the staff told us in full detail, just how comfortable a corset was to wear!! I certainly took her at her word and have no wish to put it to the test!

There was a little time to view part of the extensive grounds and gardens before it was time to board our coach for the homeward journey.

Ken Amery

Oliver Gooch